Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Implications of VPs as a punchline

I like the funnies, and Frazz is a good one. But I was a little bummed to see them go for the easy laugh here. Sure memorizing vice presidents is pointless, but strictly speaking so is memorizing presidents, state capitols, mythological deities. Multiplication tables and poetry may, in fairness, make some sense. But on the off-chance one finds themselves in a profession that requires knowledge of the 50 state capitols (or the VPs like yours truly) pick it up in on-the-job-training.

My different selves are caught on this. The academic in me wants to right the wrong of VP inconsequence mostly to expand my own academic micro-niche. But the small government conservative says, it is a good thing that government officials are not taken too seriously - government should matter less, not more. But the policywonk in me has a deep respect for people who, as Teddy Roosevelt says "is in the arena." Full quote is here:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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